We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Monday, March 7, 2022

Jesus De/Constructed for Lent - Introduction




JESUS DE/CONSTRUCTED FOR LENT
AN INTRODUCTION


The class will cover two books. Diana’s Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence and Tripp’s  The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus: Lord, Liar, Lunatic . . . Or Awesome?If you are super nerdy you may want to check out Tripp’s Divine Self-Investment

***UPDATE*** Tripp’s book has proved hard to find for many of you. HERE is a PDF of the book. We just ask you don’t share it and if inspired purchase a delayed or digital copy.


Class Outline

We will have 6 weekly sessions each Thursday at 5pm ET. In addition to these sessions, there will be a special visit from the author of  After Jesus Before Christianity: a Historical Exploration of the first two centuries of Jesus Movements.

3/3 SESSION 1: De/Constructing Jesus & the Lenten Journey

Reading: the introduction to Freeing Jesus and chapter 1 of the Guide to Jesus

3/10 SESSION 2: the Consequences of C.S. Lewis’ Worst Idea

Reading: Guide to Jesus ch 2-4

3/17 SESSION 3: from Executed Prophet to Cosmic Christ

Reading: Guide to Jesus ch 5-7

3/24 SESSION 4: Freeing Jesus from Christendom Capture

Reading: Freeing Jesus ch 1-3

3/31 SESSION 5: One Jesus, One Story, & a Multitude of Christs

Reading: Freeing Jesus ch 4-6

4/7 SESSION 6: De/constructed Jesus & the Journey of Holy Week

Reading: Freeing Jesus conclusion & Guide to Jesus ch 8

SPECIAL BONUS SESSION: After Jesus Before Christianity

We are excited to have our friends at the Westar Institute supporting this class. As part of the partnership, we will have a special bonus session with the authors of an exciting new book – After Jesus Before Christianity: a Historical Exploration of the first two centuries of Jesus Movements.


Previous Episodes with Diana & Tripp


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 JESUS DE/CONSTRUCTED RESOURCES


Amazon Link

From the creative minds of the scholarly group behind the groundbreaking Jesus Seminar comes this provocative and eye-opening look at the roots of Christianity that offers a thoughtful reconsideration of the first two centuries of the Jesus movement, transforming our understanding of the religion and its early dissemination.
Christianity has endured for more than two millennia and is practiced by billions worldwide today. Yet that longevity has created difficulties for scholars tracing the religion’s roots, distorting much of the historical investigation into the first two centuries of the Jesus movement. But what if Christianity died in the fourth or fifth centuries after it began? How would that change how historians see and understand its first two hundred years?
Considering these questions, three Bible scholars from the Westar Institute summarize the work of the Christianity Seminar and its efforts to offer a new way of thinking about Christianity and its roots. Synthesizing the institute’s most recent scholarship—bringing together the many archaeological and textual discoveries over the last twenty years—they have found:
  • There were multiple Jesus movements, not a singular one, before the fourth century
  • There was nothing called Christianity until the third century
  • There was much more flexibility and diversity within Jesus’s movement before it became centralized in Rome, not only regarding the Bible and religious doctrine, but also understandings of gender, sexuality and morality.
  • Exciting and revolutionary, After Jesus Before Christianity provides fresh insights into the real history behind how the Jesus movement became Christianity.
After Jesus Before Christianity includes more than a dozen black-and-white images throughout.


Amazon Link

The award-winning author of Grateful goes beyond the culture wars to offer a refreshing take on the comprehensive, multi-faceted nature of Jesus, keeping his teachings relevant and alive in our daily lives.
How can you still be a Christian?
This is the most common question Diana Butler Bass is asked today. It is a question that many believers ponder as they wrestle with disappointment and disillusionment in their church and its leadership. But while many Christians have left their churches, they cannot leave their faith behind.
In Freeing Jesus, Bass challenges the idea that Jesus can only be understood in static, one-dimensional ways and asks us to instead consider a life where Jesus grows with us and helps us through life’s challenges in several capacities: as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.
Freeing Jesus is an invitation to leave the religious wars behind and rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Jesus beyond the narrow confines we have built around him. It renews our hope in faith and worship at a time when we need it most.


Christology is crazy. It’s rather absurd to identify a first-century homeless Jew as God revealed, but a bunch of us do anyway. In this book, Tripp Fuller examines the historical Jesus, the development of the doctrine of Christ, the questions that drove christological innovations through church history, contemporary constructive proposals, and the predicament of belief for the church today. Recognizing that the battle over Jesus is no longer a public debate between the skeptic and believer but an internal struggle in the heart of many disciples, he argues that we continue to make christological claims about more than an “event” or simply the “Jesus of history.” On the other hand, C. S. Lewis’s infamous “liar, lunatic, and Lord” scheme is no longer intellectually tenable. This may be a guide to Jesus, but for Christians, Fuller is guiding us toward a deeper understanding of God. He thinks it’s good news—good news about a God who is so invested in the world that God refuses to be God without us.


Amazon Link

When muttering the word “God” doesn’t come easy, what does it mean to call Jesus “the Christ?” Fuller offers a robust constructive Christology that engages three theological registers - historical, existential, and metaphysical.

Beginning Christology not from above or below but from within the Disciple’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, Fuller constructs a powerful Open and Relational Christology. At the heart are three pairings of contemporary thinkers who share a thematic center with distinct trajectories. Fuller weaves each into a vision of God’s self-investment in history and the person of Jesus. The constructive proposal not only uses an Open and Relational vision but reshapes it in light of God’s self-investment in Christ. The significance of Fuller’s proposal is wide-reaching, engaging revelation, divine power, evil, the cross, hope, the imago dei, and the Spirit.

What They're Saying...

“This ambitious Christology marks Tripp Fuller as one of the most significant young systematic theologians to emerge on the scene in recent years. One can profitably read this book as an introduction to Open and Relational Theology; as a refresher on Logos Christology, Spirit Christology, and the quest for the historical Jesus; or as a primer on his six theological discussion partners. But the brilliance of the volume is actually the blending of biblical, classical, and process insights into a single moving vision of God’s self-investment in creation, Israel, and Jesus. Rarely have I encountered a young theologian who writes with this level of systematic depth.”
-- Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology

"Tripp Fuller masterfully engages the crucial Christian question: Who do we say Jesus is? Engaging history, philosophy and theology, Fuller offers a vision of Jesus that weds evangelical convictions with progressive insights. His work stands alone side that of John Cobb, David Griffin and Elizabeth Johnson for required reading in Christology."
-- Monica A. Coleman, Professor of Africana Studies, University of Delaware, author of Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology